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Lehmann Maupin
501 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011

Ashley Bickerton

Wall-Wall Single No. 5 (Beach), 2016
Oil paint on resin and fiberglass on plywood with aluminum
47.24 x 5.91 x 47.24 inches

Ashley Bickerton’s Wall-Wall works can be viewed as a formal and narrative link between his early industrial wall panels and his later more expressionist and kitsch works. In both cases Bickerton seeks to address the question “what is a painting?” and aims to poke fun at the reverence that historically surrounds the genre. The artist began experimenting with the Wall-Walls as early as the 1980s, when he encountered vividly colored walls in Acapulco, Mexico. He came to the conclusion that a wall can be considered the most primal form of painting, and set out to create works that portrayed a “wall on a wall.” Bickerton uses the notion of “wall” as a kind of readymade object that holds significance of its own, with its own markings, history, and objectness. The Wall-Wall series embodies this notion and the underlying critique of art as commodity that has motivated Bickerton’s work for decades.

Gilbert and George

Shots, 2011
Mixed media
50 x 59.45 inches

Gilbert & George have often described London, with its grandeur, mystery, and drama, as a significant source of inspiration for their determinedly confrontational and richly atmospheric art. For nearly five decades the artists have showcased London’s moods, identifying within the city’s sleepless thoroughfares all of the messy, precious, undeniable aspects of the modern human condition. In their LONDON PICTURES series, Gilbert & George enable the city to speak for itself by incorporating 3,712 newspaper posters, stolen or otherwise retrieved by the artists over more than six years, and then sorted and classified according to subject. This method, according to the artists, allows each picture to “decide itself”–its subject, title, and size determined and denoted alphabetically and numerically by the classification process. In this series, Gilbert & George have sought to eliminate the conscious act of “art-making,” asserting instead the reality, as reported by the print news media of London, that lies at the heart of their subject: the routine volatility of contemporary society. Behind each poster, however blunt or abbreviated, lies the truth and inviolable realism of a human situation, its impact and consequences.

Marilyn Minter

Last Sleepy Angel, 2017
Dye sublimation print
45 x 60 inches

Since the 1980s, Marilyn Minter has been at the forefront of the ongoing dialogue surrounding depictions of women in art and media with her raw, honest, and at times explicit paintings and photographs of women. By pushing the boundaries of beauty and glamour imagery, Minter exposes the double standards that influence women’s identities and presents brazen alternatives to the depictions of women that we consume daily. Last Sleepy Angel is a contemporary feminist take on the popular 20th-century subject of women depicted in the act of bathing that has been canonized in Western art by artists such as Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, and Edgar Degas. Part of her series of “bather” works, Minter subverts these typically voyeuristic images by giving agency and power to the subject through a fierce, detached, or confrontational pose. Her subjects are photographed behind a steamed or frosted pane of glass and in control of their attributes, allowing for a depiction of female desire and power—sexual, economic, and political—that has long been treated by society as a natural aberration.

Angel Otero

Window Seat, 2019
Oil paint and fabric collaged on canvas
96 x 2 x 72 inches

Window Seat exemplifies Angel Otero’s innovative process of scraping then collaging oil paint as a way to simultaneously venerate the history of painting and confront its rigid formal and material boundaries. Otero’s unique approach to creating his works, first painting across glass and then once dry, flaying the dried paint and reconstructing/collaging the composition across large canvases, is representative of how the artist perceives the process of reconfiguring both personal and historical narratives. Otero often uses this laborious process as a way of confronting and revealing personal memories, as well as the loaded history of making art. Instead of representing his life explicitly through his work, he archives images or symbols that evoke a specific memory or moment in the past (both personal and historical) in order to create compositions that invite surprise and discovery. His work is a constant negotiation between the personal and the work of his art historical predecessors.

Tony Oursler

C>o++, 2017
Aluminum, acrylic paint, and LCD screen, sound
36.5 x 3 x 53 inches

“Known for his early work with facial recognition software, Tony Oursler has long created video work that merges technology and human expression of emotion. In C>o++, part of Ourlser’s aluminum sculpture series, video screens featuring an isolated eye and mouth are embedded in the structure. This work, like many of Oursler’s sculptures and wall works, is focused on understanding humanity through human psychology and the corporeal mechanisms that the body—particularly the face—uses to communicate complex thoughts and emotions and express identity. The question of how much or little information is needed from the face before we can comprehend its form is a frequent theme that Ourlser explores throughout his work.

Since the beginning of his career, Oursler has been interested in the intersection of technology and humanity, and the role that technology plays in controlling and understanding humanity and human psychology. This investigation has become is increasingly more important as technology has become fully embedded into every aspect of our daily lives.”

Alex Prager

Speed Limit, 2019
Archival pigment print
74.3 x 59 inches

Speed Limit is a work from Alex Prager’s most recent series, Play the Wind (2019). In the film and accompanying photographs, Prager anchors her characteristically elaborate fictional scenes within the real Los Angeles, shooting primarily on location rather than in the studio for the first time since the beginning of her career. Though the images contain large constructed set pieces and are populated with carefully cast extras (numbering up to 300), the presence of the streets of Los Angeles infuses an element of urban life that is palpable in this work. Prager’s perception of Los Angeles is one of the artifice and drama befitting Hollywood, with real world chaos that overflows into sci-fi dystopia and post-apocalyptic dread. She incorporates typical visions of the city disseminated on film, TV, and within the popular imagination, which inform our characterization of a place as much as our own memories.

Erwin Wurm

Me, 2011-2014
Fabric and acrylic
5.12 x 4.72 x 21.65 inches

As a sculptor, Erwin Wurm engages with the established history of the genre, yet pushes the tradition to new and exciting possibilities by incorporating participatory, temporal, and psychological elements in his process. Wurm often uses absurd and comic elements of contemporary society—particularly in relation to the human body—and has repeatedly re-drawn and extended the boundary that defines a visible form from inside and outside, fundamentally challenging and questioning the viewer’s perception of reality. With Me (2011-2014), Wurm utilizes clothing in place of the body as a sculptural element to delineate the human form.

Nari Ward

Courtship Replay G.V., 2011-2019
Durag, peacock feather, stencil ink, krink marker, basketball trading cards, and collaged basketball mounted on aluminum
30 x 42 inches

“In his Courtship Replay series, Nari Ward assembles pieces of basketballs and basketball cards in abstract, quilt-like formations. Each card is obscured with stenciled black lines, all pointing in various directions, and the marks work to obscure the imagery on each basketball card. These sports references are a nod to the early restrictions of African American athletes from participating on national teams as well as the growing issues of substance abuse amongst professional players today. Ward is particularly interested in basketball as a cultural phenomenon and considers it a point of universality, understood in urban American communities.

In Courtship Replay G.V., Ward incorporates a Durag—a grooming cap introduced by African American men to add waves to their hair—and a peacock feather to the face of the work, adding both a sculptural element and cultural subtext. The objects signify a form of deliberate presentation that alludes to the prevalent display of male athleticism and the sexualization of athletic black bodies in American culture.”

Nari Ward

Anchoring Escapement; Mahogany Ithaca, 2018
Grandfather clock case, copper sheet with patina, copper nails, and African statues
20 x 12 x 86 inches

Nari Ward’s Anchoring Escapement series is comprised of grandfather clocks sourced from Ward’s Harlem neighborhood, copper panels, and antique African sculptures. Ward refurbished and altered each grandfather clock to bring new import to the object’s enduring status of power and prestige for the home. He replaces the clock face with a Congolese cosmogram symbol that represents the cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth, and installs African figures from the 1800s (sourced from Harlem African art markets and dealers) within the cavity of the clock where the pendulum traditionally swings. With the inclusion of the copper cosmogram, Ward makes reference to the first time he encountered the Congolese prayer symbol during a visit to the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia, which was part of the Underground Railroad. With this intervention, Ward focuses on the resilience of copper and its spiritual and conductive power in relation to human energy as well as the symbolism of the cosmogram in the antebellum South on the journey to freedom.

Mandy El-Sayegh

White Grounds 11, 2018
Oil and mixed media on linen
79 x 0.125 x 95.5 inches

Mandy El-Sayegh’s White Grounds function as a foundation in her practice, serving a similar purpose as sketches or drawings for many painters. El-Sayegh begins building each composition using unstretched linen, on which she renders fragmented bodies and body parts. The artist approaches the body through three main frameworks: the scientific (processes of growth and decay), the cultural (typical notions of beauty and celebrity), and the personal (ancestral history). These manifest primarily in imagery pulled from anatomical textbooks, pop culture, or media outlets, as well as hand-written notes from the artist’s father. Sometimes, these rudimentary and often sparse compositions are complete in themselves, and become an autonomous artwork (White Grounds). In other cases, El-Sayegh develops the composition further into a more densely layered or abstracted painting.

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